A deal has been struck between the United States and China that ends a fifteen year ban on American beef in the Chinese market, a move which many expect will prop up the lagging beef industry nationwide.
Congresswoman Kristi Noem released the following statement shortly after it was announced that China will resume US beef imports:
“Around 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside U.S. borders. As the world’s largest beef producer, gaining market access is critical. I welcome the administration’s proposal and am hopeful this renewed access to Chinese consumers will help boost the long-depressed cattle markets that have threatened many South Dakota cattle operations” [Mike Leischner, “China Ends US Beef Ban,” KELO Radio, 2017.06.12].
China is requiring that U.S. producers track where in the U.S. their exported cattle are born and slaughtered. Funny Rep. Noem backs that but let die our own Country-of-Origin labeling rules to informed American consumers where their beef came from.
China is importing lots more beef than it did when it banned U.S. beef in 2003 out of fear of mad-cow disease. However, since Donald Trump has withdrawn us from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, we’ll have trouble competing for China’s business with more globally-oriented beef-producing countries like Australia:
The U.S. is not expected to get a major share of the Chinese market soon. That’s because Australia – also a major beef exporting country – has negotiated reduced tariffs in the free trade agreement it has with China. The agreement between the two countries will completely remove by 2024 Chinese tariffs on Australian beef that currently range between 12 percent and 25 percent [Bill Tomson, “USDA Announces Finalization of Deal to Lift Chinese Ban on US Beef,” Agri-Pulse, 2017.06.12].
Last year, the Chinese ate 16.9 billion pounds of beef. Only the United States ate more beef, 25.7 billion pounds, but to out-snarf our Chinese friends, each of us had to eat over 79 pounds of beef in 2016, compared to the Chinese per-capita beef consumption of 12.2 pounds. Our beef consumption was up last year amidst a four-decade decline. American beef producers can only hope the Chinese will catch up with the Hong Kong friends, who ate over 114 pounds of beef per person last year.